Let’s face it. Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective, is not Politically Correct. If you were hoping for a nice, polite, inoffensive milquetoast gentleman, Dan Turner is not your Private Eye. Or gumshoe. Or peeper. Or private skulk. You need to run for the nearest exit NOW. Otherwise, your delicate sensibilities are going to get bruised.
Dan Turner, the creation of author Robert Leslie Bellem, was a hardboiled private eye, who just happened to work the back lots and bedrooms of Hollywood. The vain film stars, the arrogant producers, the scheming agents, the bitter washed-up has-beens, and an endless array of glamorous female “starlets” were his clientele.
Whether he was called in on a blackmail scheme, hunting down a lead on a kidnapping, drying out at an alcohol clinic or even just grabbing a bite to eat, somehow, somebody always winds up dead when Dan’s around.
“And even as I stared, I saw a hand raise; saw the dull glitter of an automatic roscoe. Abruptly, the gat coughed fire. It said: “Ka-chow-chow-chow!”
And when somebody is dead, they’re
“as dead as last year’s newsreels”
“deader than Columbus”
“deader than vaudeville”
“as dead as a baked partridge”
“deader than crabmeat”
“as dead as a mackerel”
“as dead as Confederate bonds”
They’re really, really dead.
So how does a shamus like Dan Turner face that endless parade of depravity and death? Why with the Breakfast of Champions, of course!
“I torched a wheezer, had an eye-opener of Vat 69, dunked my chassis in the shower and was piling into a set of threads when the phone rang again. I answered it.”
That and a little female companionship.
And about those frails, dames, wrens, cupcakes, quails, cookies, and chili-peppers:
“When I kiss them, they stay kissed a long time. And I threw a load of technique into this one. I pried her unwilling lips open with my mouth, and in a minute she was gasping.
The top of her nightgown slipped its moorings. I gandered her delishful charms. She liked it. They all do!”
“She wasn’t wearing anything but an excuse for a brassiere under the red dress. And there was nothing else except lacy panties which were about as concealing as cellophane.” …
“Her lips were red, moist . . . and very close to mine. I kissed her. Her chestnut hair was fragrant.
Well, what the hell! I’m as human as the next guy. What happened after that wasn’t in any way my fault.”
The corpses don’t care. They’re busy getting bagged and tagged. Somebody has to offer a strong shoulder for the frails to cry on and Dan is just the guy. Kind-hearted to a fault.
So the next time you’re in your favorite watering hole, lift a shot of Vat 69 to Dan Turner and remember, for him that would just be part of breakfast.
And if you’re looking for Dan…